Sun defends Linux desktop plans
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The announcements were first disclosed in CRN on Tuesday.
To date, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company has delivered a total of seven Sun ONE software products on Linux including the Sun ONE Web Server, Active Server Pages, Studio 4, Grid Engine and Grid Engine Enterprise Edition products. Sun also announced at the show the recent delivery of Sun ONE Directory Server 5.1 on Linux.
However, customers will have to wait until at least summer to get their hands on other mission-critical Sun ONE servers and the planned Sun Linux desktop.
Sun, for example, won't deliver Sun ONE Portal Server, Sun ONE Identity Server, Sun ONE Calendar Server and Sun ONE Messaging Server on Linux until later this year, officials acknowledged.
Moreover, the Sun ONE Desktop for Linux, which was originally promised for delivery in the first quarter, has been pushed back until summer, officials said at a press conference at LinuxWorld Wednesday.
The Sun ONE Desktop for Linux, first announced in September and developed under the code name "Mad Hatter," won't be released into beta until this spring. General availability is expected in the summer, officials said.
Following the press conference, Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president for Sun's Software Group, said the Linux desktop was pushed back to accommodate forthcoming technologies that will make it a more fully functional corporate desktop.
For example, Ximian's next-generation Evolution client, which will be integrated into the Sun ONE Desktop for Linux, isn't expected to be ready until midyear, one Ximian official said. Ximian's Desktop 2.0 graphical desktop, which is also being prepared for release, supports GNOME 2.0.
When questioned about the limited progress made by existing Linux desktops and office suites, including Sun's own StarOffice, Schwartz responded that while the alternative desktop market in North America is small, Linux desktop is taking hold in retail, automation and thin-client settings. Schwartz, like many other industry executives, predicted a major defection from Windows and Office.
"You are wed to Windows, to Word," Schwartz said, addressing a group of journalists gathered at the Javits Center. "[Linux]will dominate in cost-sensitive environments. When we look more like Windows, we will make headway with knowledge workers."
Schwartz declined to say whether or not Sun will incorporate a forthcoming open-source Microsoft Outlook-like client being developed by Mitch Kapor's Open Source Applications Foundation. "If Mitch's [Link client] is open source, we'll look at that, too," Schwartz said.
Similarly, the Sun ONE Connector for Ximian Evolution, announced this week, won't be available from Sun and Ximian until mid-2003.
The connector, for example, works with Evolution to manage e-mail, multiple calendars, group schedules, shared calendars, address books and local task lists using existing Sun ONE servers, including messaging server with Microsoft Outlook interoperability assured.